By STEPHEN NG
TRUTH put it bluntly, I have lost confidence in our education system.
As much as we were all hyped up after May 9, 2018 about our education system being restored to its previous glory, I have little choice now but to pull out my children from the national school system.
Despite having to work much harder to afford their private education, I think it can only be for their own good.
With the blunders that I see in the past one-and-half year, I see little hope in the Education Minister, Dr Maszlee Malik to turn things around to improve our education system.
Let me elaborate:
From my observations, all the blunders that he has made go to show that Maszlee has little or no experience in running a ministry, what’s more the education ministry, which is one of the key ministries in the hearts of all Malaysians.
In my opinion, Dr Maszlee has only been a university lecturer prior to his appointment. He hardly has any administrative experience at the senior level; therefore, his appointment was a poor decision to put someone with no proper qualifications or experience to run an important ministry.
While there are many more qualified people in Pakatan Harapan (and outside the coalition), Maszlee was probably picked because there are no good candidates in Bersatu. This is at least the opinion of a number of parents that I have spoken to.
To quote a simple example, you cannot implement swimming and expect hoteliers to offer their swimming pools as part of their corporate social responsibility. Only an idiot would even think that is ever possible!
Not to mention about all the other policies that were implemented without going through some thorough discussions, his latest blunder was to even make a comment on the abolishment of Science stream at the secondary school level – and that, to an international community!
Such a word should not have even come out from his mouth, as the suggestion has not been deliberated thoroughly.
To add salt to the wound, his suggestion to implement free breakfast for all children will be costing millions, if not billions, when the money could have been used for more meaningful upgrade of the school facilities. After all, not all children will eat their breakfast.
When you abolish the streaming, you will end up with a rojak curriculum, where kids become jack of all trades, master of none. Their grounding in the sciences or the arts would not be strong enough for them to survive their university education.
Already the national syllabus is rojak at its best – with more subjects and topics being introduced every year. I cannot imagine my children having to go through the next 10 years of their education learning things that are not relevant for their careers.
Just think how the schools continue to cramp knowledge into a 10-year-old child with two or three languages, science and mathematics, plus a host of the other subjects such as Health Science, Physical Education, Architecture (reka bentuk), Moral and Civics Education, Information Technology, Arts & Craft, History, Geography and on top of this, the Arabic Khat, Jawi and Chinese calligraphy and knowledge about the general election incorporated into the school syllabus.
On top of this, some school principals especially in Chinese schools are adding more burden to the children by asking parents to buy more workbooks than allowable by the ministry.
When my son was in Standard Three, I was shocked to find out that he had 21 workbooks and when he went into Standard Four, along with his additional workbooks and resource books, for Bahasa Malaysia alone, he had to go through a total of 440 pages for just one subject.
By comparison, schools conducting international syllabi such as IGCSE, for example, only require the kids to concentrate on four or five subjects. They focus only on the key areas that will help fulfil their prerequisites for a university education, while the rest can be learnt as a hobby instead of being taught in a classroom situation.
Although our original plan was to allow our children to go through Chinese education in their primary, in order to learn the language, I dread to think that they would have to struggle with Mandarin in their first six years of their education, and later, continue struggling with Bahasa Malaysia, before entering into a university where everything is taught in English.
Instead of mastering a certain career that would help them earn their living, they would forever be struggling with their languages, which could in fact be learnt, as a hobby.
Like it or not, for Malaysia to compete internationally, we still need the international languages that are widely used across the world without, of course, as I always said, neglecting Bahasa Malaysia or the mother tongue which has its place in the country.
One reason why many of our graduates are not employable is because they cannot even express themselves properly. Clearly, if one cannot write a convincing letter to prove that he is employable, the job is for others who can do it well.
STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008. After May 9, 2018, he is now involved in contributing ideas towards rebuilding of the nation.